Monday, 3 March 2014

Red Bull, Courtney share the spoils in Adelaide

The 2014 V8 Supercars season kicked off in dramatic fashion this weekend with the
Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide.

Race one saw Jamie Whincup start his title defence in the best possible way winning from pole ahead of his Red Bull Racing Australia team mate Craig Lowndes. Lowndes faced a challenge from Shane Van Gisbergen but the Kiwi dropped away after the pit stops and eventually finished third.

Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom was a lonely fourth followed by Fabian Coulthard and the Nissan of Rick Kelly.

Scott McLaughlin scored a fantastic seventh in the Swedish marque's first race while Jason Bright, James Courtney and Scott Pye rounded out the top 10.

The second race of the weekend had one of the most spectacular finishes in recent memory. Lowndes, who started race two on pole barely faced a challenge on his way to victory whilst race one winner Whincup, who started third, battled past second placed starter McLaughlin.

However pitstop drama relegated the reigning champion back to third, but he re-took second once again on the final lap. The race for the runner up spot was not over though as McLaughlin capitalised on a mistake by the Red Bull driver on the final turn to secure second place and take Volvo Polestar Racing's first podium finish in only their second start.

Mark Winterbottom and Fabian Coulthard were once again fourth and fifth respectively. Chaz Mostert bounced back from early retirement in race one to take sixth, ahead of Garth Tander in seventh. Nissan pair Michael Caruso and Todd Kelly were eight and ninth respectively whilst Will Davison finished tenth - Erebus Motorsport's best result of the weekend.

The final race of the weekend was action packed right from the first lap. Shane Van Gisbergen didn't make the most of pole position, losing out to Whincup stright away. Further back, Will Davison, wanting to continue from his top 10 finish in race two didn't make it too the end of the first lap. A nudge from James Moffatt sent the Mercedes-Benz driver into the wall at turn ten, ripping off the left front wheel and door.

The restart was even more spectacular as Team BOC driver Jason bright was sent into a frightening roll by Garth Tander. Bright escaped unhurt but his car was thought to be written off in the incident.

Whincup lost the lead after his first pit stop when he was handed a drive through penalty after a controller touched the car and he spun his wheels during refuelling. Contact with Michael Caruso later on ended the race for both of them.

Scott McLaughlin also had the chance to score another podium for Volvo until he retired with 11 laps to go with a battery issue.

Up front, James Courtney fought through from 15th on the grid to take victory, his first since race 3 at Winton last season. Craig Lowndes was once again second with pole sitter Van Gisbergen coming home in third. 

Rick Kelly secured a personal best in the Nissan Altima with fourth, ahead of Tim Slade's Holden. David Reynolds and David Wall were the highest finish Fords. James Moffatt and Dale Wood completed the top 10.

Following the event the stewarts imposed 25 point penalties to Holden Racing Team driver James Courtney and Red Bull Racing Australia's Jamie Whincup. 

Courtney was docked points for contact with the Mercedes of Lee Holdsworth and Scott Pye's Ford in race two. 

The 2010 champion was accused of careless driving after driving between Holdsworth and Pye, hitting both and ripping his left-side door off in doing so.

Whincup's penalty came after the contact with Michael Caruso which knocked both drivers out of race three. Caruso was also hit with a 25 point penalty because of an incident in the first race but that penalty has been suspended until December 31.

Craig Lowndes leaves Adelaide with the points lead after his win and brace of second places. He sits 52 points ahead of Fabian Coulthard with Shane Van Gisbergen in third.

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